One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

CD REVIEW



Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation


absolutely thrilling


immediacy and spontaneity


Schumann Lieder


24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs


‘Box of Delights.’


J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue


GERNSHEIM Quartets
a most welcome issue


I enjoyed it tremendously


the finest traditions of the house


music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message


ground-breaking, winning release


Charpentier
screams quality


Surprise of the month


English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement


Buy through MusicWeb for £13.95 postage paid World-wide.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Purchase button

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992)
Complete Works for Piano, Vol. 4

Préludes (1928-29) [41:46]
Les offrandes oubliées (1930) [10:16]
Fantasie burlesque (1934) [7:08]
Pièce pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas (1935) [3:44]
Rondeau (1943) [2:38]
Prélude pour piano (1964) [2:49]
Paul Kim (piano)
rec. January 2004, Patrych Sound Studios, New York City
CENTAUR CRC 2727 [68:45]



The final volume of Paul Kimís excellent recordings of the complete piano music of Olivier Messiaen concentrates almost entirely on the earlier works. The Préludes were written while Messiaen was still a student at the Paris Conservatoire, and while there are colours and gestures from other composers present - Debussyís own Préludes being the most obvious influence - it is fascinating to hear how instantly recognisable and well formed the Messiaen musical fingerprints already were in this period. Each of the pieces is a meditation on a particular theme or subject. Some of these have enigmatic titles like Instants défunts, and the longest has the wonderful name Cloches díangoisse et larmes díadieu (Bells of Anguish and Tears of Farewell). Paul Kim shows his sensitive touch in this, and the other quieter movements, balancing the chords to reveal their melodic importance, as well as those long stretches of harmonic development, making the climaxes powerful and expressive. The opposite to this is arguably the eighth and final prelude, Un reflet dans le ventÖ(A Reflection in the Wind), whose extrovert pianism Kim compares to Debussyís Líisle joyeuse in the booklet notes, and whose joyous rising motives sometimes bring Turangalila to mind.

Les offrandes oubliées, or ĎThe Forgotten Offeringsí arranged for piano from the original orchestral version by the composer, is the only work on this disc with an overtly religious theme, and is recognised as being one of Messiaenís most significant early pieces. A reverential, plainchant-like opening gives way to that famously savage central section in which Messiaen really plays the piano as an orchestra, hitting as hard as anything by Stravinsky. Paul Kimís sense of eternal timelessness is very beautiful in this piece, and holds nothing back where the tumult of rage expresses fury and fear.

Messiaen resisted the extensive influences of jazz and popular styles prevalent in Paris in the 1930s, and his Fantasie burlesque often comes across more than a little anachronistically, placing ragtime rhythms and stride piano technique within the recognisable, serious Messiaen idiom. Kim shows himself well up to the challenge of the occasional shimmy, and with contrast and colour still central aspects of the writing, manages to give the work all of the French surrealist character it demands.

Pièce pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas as the title suggests, was written as part of a response by a number of composers to the loss of their mentor and colleague. In the resulting collection, published in the journal Revue Musicale in 1936, most of the works are tenderly graceful tributes, but as more than one commentator has pointed out, Messiaenís honest feelings were of more of rage against the transient nature of existence, making this piece stand out from the crowd. Kimís performance is tough and uncompromising, well expressing those feelings of frustration and fury. Placing the lighter Rondeau directly afterwards is good programming. This was a piece written as a test piece for a piano competition, and is full of exuberant trills and scherzo-like character. On the strength of this recording I think Mr. Kim would probably have won the prize.

A fascinating newcomer is the Prélude of 1964, which was only discovered in 2000 and subsequently edited for posthumous publication by Messiaenís widow, Yvonne Loriod. The piece has a simple structure, and some surprisingly and strikingly simple diatonic/homophonic chords in the opening Ė one to play for knowledgeable friends, who might well be thrown for longer than usual. In a strange way the piece is like a musical letter left behind for all us fans, and as such you may find yourself Ďreadingí it very many times Ė I know I have. Kimís playing and interpretation is as heroically affecting as the music, and is a fitting conclusion to this glorious set.

As with all of the releases in this series, Paul Kimís own booklet notes are highly informative and written with great clarity. He opens the notes for this issue with a personal response to Messiaenís music, and his feelings on having completed the task of a recording of the entire works for piano. We are also given a glimpse into how his involvement with such monumental efforts affected his family, and I for one would gladly allow him the space to show gratitude to those who had to put up with the great tracts of time put into preparing such recordings. Paul Kimís volumes of Messiaen are something quite special, and deserve as wide an audience as anything available today.

Dominy Clements

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4


 

We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.